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Summary

Whilst living in exile on St Helena, Napoleon exerted an extraordinary influence on young Betsy Balcombe. How did she get from Napoleon's side to the Australian bush?

Betsy Balcombe as a young woman lived with her family on St Helena. They befriended, served and were ruined by their relationship with Napoleon. To redeem the family's fortunes, William Balcombe, Betsy's father, betrayed Napoleon and accepted a job as the colonial treasurer of NSW, bringing his family with him. William never recovered from the ups and downs of association with Napoleon. His family, however, flourished in Australia and remained renowned pastoralists in Victoria.

Tom Keneally, with his gift for bringing historical stories to life, shares this remarkable friendship and the beginning of an Australian dynasty.

©2015 The Serpentine Publishing Company (P)2015 Bolinda

Critic reviews

"[Narrator Edwina] Wren’s smooth and soothing tones draw the listener into this detailed first-person account.... Keneally’s fans will devour this enchanting novel of Napoleon’s last days." ( AudioFile)

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  • Michael
  • 04-06-16

Surprising good

A little slow but it builds and becomes quite a good read. There was one section quite close to the end of the book that shocked me, but that is my bias rather than Mr Keneally. Remember, this book is a work of fiction loosely based on fact. I generally don't like Tom Keneally writing after being forced to read 'The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith' and I was thinking of reading 'Schindler's Ark' the book that 'Schindler's List' the1993 film by Steven Spielberg was based on but as I said, not a fan of Mr Keneally which does not mean he isn't good, that is just me. So if you are a fan of Napoleon then give this book a go, I don't think you will learn anything new but this book will probably support your views on the man but remember, it is only a story.